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Happiness and Economic Growth: The Evidence

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  • Easterlin, Richard A.

    ()
    (University of Southern California)

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    Abstract

    Long term trends in happiness and income are not related; short term fluctuations in happiness and income are positively associated. Evidence for this is found in time series data for developed countries, transition countries, and less developed countries, whether analyzed separately or pooled. Skeptics, who claim that the long term time series trend relationship is positive, are mistaking the short term association for the long term one, or are misguided by a statistical artifact. Some analysts assert that in less developed countries happiness and economic growth are positively related "up to some point," beyond which the association tends to become nil, but time series data do not support this view. The most striking contradiction is China where, despite a fourfold multiplication in two decades in real GDP per capita from a low initial level, life satisfaction has not improved.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7187.

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    Length: 32 pages
    Date of creation: Jan 2013
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: forthcoming in: Global Handbook of Well-Being and Quality of Life
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7187

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    Related research

    Keywords: developed countries; Easterlin paradox; short term; long term; income; subjective well-being; life satisfaction; happiness; transition countries; less developed countries; China;

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